Despite the immense growth of other forms of online communication like podcasting and web conferences, email remains the number activity online, both in business and personal communication. A poll conducted by Gallup showed that 71% of internet users receive and send emails at least once every week. Email usage overshadows other popular online activities like blogging, music download, facebooking and shopping.
Email communication may be simple, just compose, type and click send! Although there is extensive use of email for business communication, observance of good email etiquette is not. Here are a number of tips you should consider for effective and professional business email communication.
a) Avoid addressing sensitive issues via email - It is advisable not to address serious business issues by email. When faced with sensitive issues that may require a lot of emotion, it may be advisable to see the recipient face to face or you can simply pick the phone and call.
b) Necessitate easy email communication with customers - Customers always prefer dealing with businesses they can communicate easily with. You can necessitate this communication by making sure your business website and brochures have email addresses you can be reached with. To avoid getting spammed, you should invest in a very good anti-spam protection service.
c) Keep email records - Since the cost of email sending, receiving and storing very low if not free, you should store and archive all business emails. This includes collecting and sorting customer and business partners' emails, contacts, links and other addresses. If the list is growing big, consider using a contact management program to manage all the data.
d) React to emails the first instance you get - Many business people fail in impressing their business partners and clients because they forget to react to an email they received. There is never a perfect time to reply or forward an email, the best time is immediately you read it. Postponing handling of mail may cause you to forget, therefore, if a mail requires replying or forwarding, do it immediately. If it requires a little research or consultation, reply telling the sender that it needs a little time and that you will get back to them as soon as possible.
e) Follow all email addressing rules - When using email for business communications, you must follow rules and laws that govern the email use in that industry, state or country. The business world is becoming more and more transparent each day, but email communication should remain private and confidential.
f) The 10-second rule - Since every business entrepreneur leads a very busy life and works on a very busy schedule, they tend to overlook details in a very long email. An email with over two paragraphs of over ten lines each is easy to skip, when writing an email, it is best to break down points into short paragraphs and notes to make it easy on the user to read. The ten-second rule states that when a user opens an email, they should know within ten seconds what the email is about.
Effective email management will help better your email communication to a great extent. Once you start following these simple instructions, you are on your way to improving your business communication.